Ear pain is most often caused by ear infections, changes in air pressure, wax build up, strep throat, sinus infection, or water trapped in the ear.
But there are many other causes that often go undiagnosed and can lead to years of suffering and pain.
Ear pain and Other Conditions
Chronic ear pain can be associated with other conditions including tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ear that affects about 1 in 5 people. But it can also be caused by structural changes in the jaws or teeth. People with damage to or disorders of the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint), which connects the jaws, can feel pressure or fullness in their ear, or experience tinnitus.
Less common causes
People who experience ear pain but don’t have an ear infection, should be checked by a dentist who understands TMJ and related problems caused by a TMJ disorder or a misaligned bite. Some of the less common yet frequent problems that can lead to ear pain include:
- TMJ disorder
- arthritis affecting the jaw
- infected tooth
- impacted tooth
- trigeminal neuralgia
- retruded jaw causing the jaw joint to push on the ear canal
- past dental work that caused the jaw joint to retrude and push on the ear canal
- trauma to the joint area
It is important to see your doctor if you have ear pain, to rule out any of the common causes, like infection. Once any of the most common issues have been ruled out, you should seek out the advice of a dentist who understands TMJ and how it relates to the ear, so that he/she can properly assess your teeth, your bite and your TMJ and discuss findings.